A Swiss Army Knife is an amazing tool. Besides its function as a knife, it can do so much more – it’s a corkscrew, can opener, bottle opener, tweezers, wire stripper, key ring, and more! Yet like many multi-purpose tools, most of its capabilities go untapped. The same can be said about analytics.
Today, most B2B marketers use analytics for reporting and measurement to gauge campaign performance. This is a good thing. However, they often get so caught up in day to day measurement and evaluation, that they lose sight of the power of analytics to influence other business decisions. For instance, many marketers regularly log into their analytics to check the usual suspects — monthly unique visitors, lead volume or e-commerce value, average time on site, or month over month and year over year trends – but then they stop there.
Understanding the value
But analytics offers marketers so much more beyond campaign performance data. In fact, its true power lies in leveraging it as a tool for influencing other business decisions that will help drive efficiencies and ultimately more revenue. For example, tapping into your analytics can help you identify a new market opportunity, or drive a decision to invest in a new line of business, or lead you to divert resources from one territory to another. Savvy marketers know the ability to use this data to influence other business decisions which can set them apart from the competition and could very well translate into a competitive advantage.
Case in point
Imagine how you would feel if your boss walked into your office and told you that your company was going to rebrand, and that a year from now she wants to see 30 percent growth in revenue? While that’s not exactly how it happened, over the past year, I worked with a B2B office furniture business that went through a similar challenge. As we began planning for the rebrand, everything was put on the table, and the company was willing to change or fix any portion of their business that needed fixing if we could substantiate it with data.
So we started to think about the various issues we could address and how we could leverage analytics. By digging into the data, we were able to not only influence the site redesign and impact offline sales channels, but we were also able to further segment our online campaigns by market, and more effectively integrate media channels. Ultimately, by leveraging analytics to influence other business decisions and marketing channels, we were able to grow the business by more than 30 percent year over year.
Try this at home
Below are 4 ways to use analytics to influence other business decisions:
- Evaluate business units. Take advantage of your analytics tool to help you segment out your data and allow business units to better understand their online performance. For example, let’s say you have a social media team who is interested in knowing what kind of revenue and traffic their online efforts are producing. By segmenting out the data, you can provide them with exactly what they need. Fortunately, many analytics tools allow you to segment out your data so you can look at the traffic and revenue coming from the sources you identify as relevant. Moreover, they also allow you to create logins that drive users directly to this information so they don’t have to sift through other data each time they login.
- Inform search and online and offline media. Marketers constantly use analytics to evaluate how they are doing online, and they also use it to segment out specific online media channels to understand direct traffic from each source. However, most don’t use analytics to influence media buying decisions. But marketers should take advantage of some of the tools within analytics to help define strategies for their next media blast. For example, it can help you understand how loyal your visitors are by evaluating the number of times each visitor comes back to your site. It can also help you evaluate your site search to understand what your users are actually looking for. Understanding this information will allow you to better connect with your potential customers through your media campaigns.
- Influence a site redesign. Did you know that by tapping into your analytics you can see the various operating systems your customers have, the browsers they are using, and their screen resolutions? This information could be invaluable for a site redesign. For instance, it can help you determine whether your lead form or call to action is within your customers’ browsing window more often than not, or whether you should you move it a bit higher up the page. It can also help you determine what pages are driving the highest bounce rates, and learn how you can enhance them to keep customers on your site longer or drive them down the path to becoming a lead. Your customers are telling you what they want, but you need to use that data to help them through your process.
- Support decisions to invest in emerging technologies. Media and technology is constantly changing. Do you remember back to when you wondered what Facebook and Twitter was all about, or why you should care about targeting users on their mobile devices? While it can be challenging to keep up with the changes, your analytics can help you understand whether you need to pay attention to new mediums and technologies, and how you can better target your audience. For instance, it can tell you whether or not users are accessing your site on their mobile devices, and which devices they are using most often. Knowing this information could drive you to invest in a down-sized version of your site for mobile users so they can get at the information they need quickly, instead of bouncing and heading to a competitor’s site.
To remain competitive in today’s economy, marketers need to fully capitalize on the tools they have at their disposal. Smart B2B marketers will tap into their analytics as a multi-purpose tool – like a Swiss Army Knife — and leverage it to influence other business decisions, not just assess campaign performance.
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